This is an interesting article in the Economix blog of the NYT citing recent research. It’s well worth a read. Check it out!
Europeans Rate Their Neighbors – NYTimes.com.
Most significant is the chart entitled “Germans on Different Continent”. The chart provides statistical evidence that German views are widely divergent from the rest of Europe. It’s not really a surprise. However, it is worrying when Germany is pushing for additional federalism modeled on German perceptions of good practice.
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The sample size for the report and charts of 700 is pretty small but the results reflect the old stereotypes.
Germany to quote Dr Kissinger is and always has been “Too big for Europe and too small for the world”.
In Roman times that empire with its best legions could not subdue what they called Germaneum and British policy for several hundred years has been to create alliances such as the Entente Cordiale to contain Germany militarily.
After the second World War, Martin Bormann who along with Hitler had been helped under Project Paperclip to escape to Argentina where he died on 13th April 1962, arranged for money looted from occupied Europe during the war to be repatriated to Germany to fund the German economic miracle which followed in the 1960s and 70s and with Chancellor Merkel is still going on now.
Margaret Thatcher, always mistrustful of Germany after the Luftwaffe reduced many of Grantham’s munitions factories to rubble, never wanted German reunification because she correctly predicted that within a few years of that happening the “Fatherland “would once again dominate Europe.
With unemployment rising throughout the rest of Europe it is hardly surprising that Europeans outside of Germany look to that country with a mixture of fear, envy and trepidation, simultaneously admiring their engineering prowess, efficiency and economic competence but resenting being bullied and bossed about by a Mrs Merkel who now likes to call Germany the “Schoolmaster of Europe”.
Along with economic success comes influence the ability to create and project military power and the ability to create arms for other people and as the Americans like to put it “burden share”.
Chancellor Merkel as a trained nuclear physicist is intellectually sharper than most of her European counterparts who including David Cameron, are all lazy intellectual lightweights that she has outsmarted at every turn.
That fact and the fiscal prudence they exert means that they are the undisputed masters of Europe without firing a single bullet and see themselves as being in “the box seat”.
People in Europe and in the UK do not like the situation and are resentful about the situation and would like to see Germany provide more money to make the Euro work and Europe work.
The German public sees the rest of Europe other than Holland, Switzerland and the Nordic countries as ingrates who are not willing to become efficient or pay their way and as “children ” who need to be told what to do, hence the term “schoolmaster of Europe”.
There is an element of a desire to see the “schoolmaster” slip up here and a desire on the part of the “schoolmaster” to “keep the Greeks and Italians in detention”, cane the Cypriots and make David Cameron and the unproductive UK come to Berlin in an air of supplication and realize who is boss.
In the end, it will not end well with the Euro or with Europe unless these old attitudes change but sadly there are too many inflated egos full of their own sense of self aggrandizement and pomposity amongst Europe’s elite for a more co-operative approach to work.
John, many thanks for the very interesting clarification. I agree with your conclusions but not necessarily all of your argument; I have no knowledge of Project Paper Clip – is there any public evidence here?